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Applied Photonics at Imperial

Imperial College London offers a postgraduate course in Applied Photonics. It is an advanced course in optics for more than eighty years and the present MSc in Optics and Photonics draw on the experience as one of the largest centres for optics application and research in the UK.

The course incorporates a significant amount of laboratory work with experiments, which range from introductions to major optical techniques and tools to building and designing a working optical system. There is a possibility to undertake a self-study project in an area of student's choice. Students finish with a four-month, full-time project that may be abroad, an academic research group or in industry.

The course is suitable for qualified students with a first degree in mathematics, physics or electrical engineering or for candidates who produce other evidence of appropriate qualifications. The course duration is one year, full-time and begins in October. However, the part-time course of two years' duration is available for students who are working for an appropriate organization in the optics field.

The college offers a broad range of optional and core courses, which are taught in the field allowing students to develop specific knowledge across a wide spectrum of optics. Graduates from this course are well qualified to apply their knowledge in a broad range of industrial context and in a research environment.

The major coursework such as laboratory work and lectures takes palace in the first two terms. The first term comprises foundation courses and laboratory work. In the second term, students choose a further eighty hours of lectures from the option courses. Students have to create a laboratory project in order to design and build a working optical system. The laboratory work is recognized as an essential element of the course and students shall be needed to undertake a total of about 160 hours.

Imperial College organizes various seminars throughout the course where industrial specialists shall provide example of entrepreneurship and scientific innovation in industry and research. In the second term, students shall be introduced to the project work as a self-study activity. This project aims at encouraging initiative and self-sufficiency in the learning process. It is evaluated by an oral presentation and written report. This is one of the many activities in which transferable skills are enhanced. Generally, students shall spend the months of May to September on the major project that is often carried out in industry.

The MSc in Applied Photonics focuses upon the Optics and Science and Technology Erasmus Mundus Master's degree. This degree is a collaborative programme involving five European Universities. This degree programme is studied over two academic years of which one year spent at two different universities in the consortium. Some funding is available for international students. For more information, students are advised to visit the Optics in Science and Technology website.


The written examinations are held in January and April/May, while the laboratory work is continually evaluated during the course. The final project is examined by oral presentations and a dissertation is submitted in September.

Core Modules

  • Optical communications physics
  • Imaging
  • Optical measurement and devices
  • Lasers
  • Self-study project
  • Laboratory work
  • Four-month research project

Optional Modules

  • Laser optics
  • Biomedical optics
  • Non-linear optics
  • Laser technology
  • Optical design
  • Fiber technology
  • Optical displays
  • Optical design laboratory
  • Photonics structures
  • Optoelectronic components and devices
  • Quantum optics

Note: It must be noted that the optional modules are subject to change.

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